United States Census, 1790 (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page

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Contents

Record Description

The collection consists of an index to the population schedules listing the inhabitants of the United States in 1790. This was the first national census conducted in the United States. This index is provided by Ancestry.com.

The schedules for some counties are missing in the 1790 census and no schedules are known to exist for the following states in 1790:

  • Delaware
  • Georgia
  • Kentucky
  • New Jersey
  • Tennessee
  • Virginia.

This census (1790) provides names for heads of household, for about 10 to 15 percent of the population, and provide only a number count for the others.

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for United States Census, 1790.

Record Content

The 1790 census includes the following information:

  • State, county and city in which census was taken
  • Name of head of household/family
  • Number of free white males 16 years and older
  • Number of free white males 16 years and under
  • Number of free white females 16 years and older
  • Number of free white females 16 years and under
  • Number of all other persons living in household
  • Number of slaves in each household

How to Use the Record

To begin your search it would be helpful to know:

  • Your ancestor's name
  • Some other identifying information such as where they lived or their age.

Search the Collection

To search the collection by name fill in your ancestor’s name in the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about those in the list to what you already know about your own ancestors to determine if this is the correct family or person.

If you did not find the person you were looking for, you may need to search the collection by image.
⇒ Select the “State” category
⇒ Select the “County” category
⇒ Select the “Township” category which takes you to the images.

You may need to look at the information on several individuals comparing the information about them to your ancestors to make this determination. Keep in mind:

  • There may be more than one person in the records with the same name.
  • You may not be sure of your own ancestor’s name.
  • Your ancestor may have used different names, or variations of their name, throughout their life.
  • If your ancestor used an alias or a nickname, be sure to check for those alternate names.
  • Even though these indexes are very accurate they may still contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings, misinterpretations, and optical character recognition errors if the information was scanned.

For tips about searching on-line collections see the on-line article FamilySearch Search Tips and Tricks.

Using the Information

When you have located your ancestor’s record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. Save a copy of the image or transcribe the information. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details. Add this new information to your records of each family. You should also look for leads to other records about your ancestors. For example:

  • Use the age categories to determine an approximate birth date range.
  • Use the residence to locate other records such as land, probate, tax, and church records.

Tips to Keep in Mind

  • Continue to search the index and records to identify other relatives.
  • When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.
  • You may need to compare the information of more than one family or person to make this determination.
  • Be aware that, as with any index, transcription errors may occur.

Unable to Find Your Ancestor?

  • Look for variant spellings of the names. You should also look for alias names, nicknames and abbreviated names.
  • Search the indexes and records of nearby localities.
  • Try alternative search methods such as only filling in the surname search box (or the given name search box) on the landing page leaving the other box empty and then click on search. This should return a list of everyone with that particular name. You could then browse the list for individuals that may be your ancestor.

General Information About These Records

Federal census takers were asked to record information about every person who was in each household on the census day, which was the first Monday in August for 1790. A census taker might have visited a house on a later date, but the information he collected was supposed to be about the people who were in the house on the census day. The basic census enumeration unit was the county. Each county was divided into enumeration districts, one for each enumerator. The completed forms were sent to the Commerce Department’s Census Office in Washington, D.C.

Federal censuses are usually reliable, depending on the knowledge of the informant and the care of the census enumerator. Information may have been given to a census taker by any member of the family or by a neighbor. Some information may have been incorrect or deliberately falsified.

Population schedules consisted of large sheets with rows and columns. The schedules were arranged by place, such as township or post office. The places were not filed in any particular order. The arrangement of families on a schedule is normally in the order in which the enumerator visited the households. The original schedules are well preserved at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. They were microfilmed in the 1950s and 1960s. The schedules for some counties in varying censuses are missing.


Known Issues with This Collection

Important.png Problems with this collection?
See a list of known issues, workarounds, tips, restrictions, future fixes, news and other helpful information.

For a full list of all known issues associated with this collection see the attached Wiki article. If you encounter additional problems, please email them to support@familysearch.org. Please include the full path to the link and a description of the problem in your e-mail. Your assistance will help ensure that future reworks will be considered.

Related Websites

Related Wiki Articles

How You Can Contribute

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.


Citations for This Collection

Citing your sources makes it easy for others to find and evaluate the records you used. When you copy information from a record, list where you found that information. Here you can find citations already created for the entire collection and for each individual record or image.

Collection Citation:

"United States Census, 1790." Database with Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2015. Citing "1790 United States Federal Census." Ancestry.com. www.ancestry.com : 2010.

Record Citation (or citation for the index entry):

The citation for a record is available with each record in this collection, at the bottom of the record screen. You can search records in this collection by visiting the search page for United States Census, 1790.
Image Citation:
The citation for an image is available on each image in this collection by clicking Show Citation at the bottom left of the image screen. You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for United States Census, 1790.

 

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  • This page was last modified on 26 August 2015, at 19:22.
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